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Vaccine mandate bill on agenda as Indiana lawmakers return to Statehouse

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Posted at 7:49 AM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 07:49:48-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana General Assembly returns to work Tuesday, and one of the first things lawmakers could tackle is an attempt to weaken COVID-19 vaccine mandates imposed by private businesses.

House Bill 1001 would require businesses that mandate their employees get vaccinated to accept essentially any exemption request from workers.

Republican lawmakers first tried to move the during hearings last month.

Some business and hospital leaders oppose the bill.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce said businesses need the flexibility to do what’s best for their companies.

Hospital leaders said the mandates can help them from being overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has not said whether he favors the bill.

On Monday, he simply said he would read every piece of legislation that is passed before making a decision.

Holcomb did say he would end the public health emergency that’s been in place for much of the pandemic if the Indiana legislature makes a few changes.

Those changes include extending the ability to efficiently vaccinate children as young as five years old and continuing to allow enhanced federal money for Medicaid and food assistance.

Holcomb recently extended the public health emergency through at least the end of January.

On Monday, the Indiana Department of Health reported 47 additional COVID-19 deaths and 31,431 more positive cases since the dashboard was last updated on Thursday. There were 3,163 people hospitalized with COVID-19.